The Value of FinCEN Data


Magnifying Glass in Front of Bookshelf

Financial data, collected from financial institutions by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), has proven to be of considerable value in money laundering, terrorist financing and other financial crimes investigations by law enforcement. When combined with other data collected by law enforcement and the intelligence communities, FinCEN data assists investigators in connecting the dots in their investigations by allowing for a more complete identification of the respective subjects with information such as personal information; previously unknown addresses; businesses and personal associations; banking patterns; travel patterns; and communication methods.

FinCEN’s Law Enforcement Awards

Every year, FinCEN holds its Law Enforcement Awards ceremony, which recognizes successfully prosecuted cases. The goals of the program are to recognize those law enforcement agencies that made effective use of financial institution reporting to obtain a successful prosecution and to demonstrate to the financial industry the value of its reporting to law enforcement. The program also emphasizes that prompt and accurate reporting by the financial industry is vital to the successful partnership with law enforcement to fight financial crime. FinCEN receives case submissions from law enforcement for the program, and in all cases, the use of BSA reporting by the financial industry provided highly noteworthy added value to significant investigations. Case summaries for many of the submissions are described in the press releases below:

Search Case Examples Prior to 2015 Using the Drop-Down Menu Below

Local Municipality Case Example (Illegal Exports) | Money Laundering, Involving SARs, Depository Institutions, BSA Violations
Biggest Worker’s Compensation Scam in Southern California Totaling More Than $3 Million Dollars | Broker Dealers, Money Laundering, Involving SARs, Fraud, Involving CTRs, Tax Crimes, Insurance Companies
Proactive Bank Secrecy Act Search Leads to Arrest in Ponzi Scheme | Involving SARs, Involving CTRs, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions
SAR Reveals Major Sports Betting Ring | Involving SARs, Other Crimes, Depository Institutions
Proactive Review of SARs Leads to Long Prison Sentences for Drug Traffickers | Narcotics Trafficking, Money Laundering, Involving SARs, Involving CTRs, Depository Institutions, BSA Violations, Money Services Businesses
Restaurant Owner Pleads Guilty to a Charge of Structuring Bank Deposits | Narcotics Trafficking, Involving SARs, Depository Institutions, BSA Violations, Tax Crimes
Business Used for Money Laundering and Pyramid Scheme | Broker Dealers, Money Laundering, Involving SARs
Purported Charity Attempts to Evade Reporting Requirements | Involving SARs, Fraud, Depository Institutions
SARs Assist in Bankruptcy Bust-out Scheme Investigation | Involving SARs, Fraud, Check Crimes
Suspicious Activity Reports Help Unravel Complex Fraudulent Banking Scheme | Involving SARs, Involving CTRs, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions
SARs and 314(b) Call Lead to Guilty Plea in Ponzi Scheme | Involving SARs, Fraud, Involving CTRs, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions, Casinos and Card Clubs, Check Crimes
BSA Records “Critical” in Conviction of Money Launderer in Organized Retail Theft Case | Money Laundering, Involving SARs, Other Crimes, Depository Institutions, BSA Violations, Money Services Businesses
State Coordinator's Case Example (Welfare Fraud) | Involving SARs, Fraud, Involving CTRs, Money Services Businesses
Credit Union Files Suspicious Activity Report and Helps Launch Bank Fraud, International Payment Transfers Investigation | Money Laundering, Involving SARs, Fraud, Depository Institutions, BSA Violations, Check Crimes
Retail Store Owner Sentenced for Unlicensed Hawala Operation | Informal Value Transfer Systems, Involving SARs, Fraud, Money Services Businesses, Tax Crimes
SARs Connect Multiple Subjects to Large Scale Investment Scam | Involving SARs, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions
FinCEN Information Helps Jury Convict Cocaine Trafficker | Narcotics Trafficking, Involving SARs, Involving CTRs, Casinos and Card Clubs, BSA Violations
Guilty Pleas in International Hedge Fund Fraud Case Initiated from SARs | Broker Dealers, Involving SARs, Fraud, Schemes and Scams, Depository Institutions
State Coordinator's Case Example (Elder Abuse-Financial) | Involving CTRs, Depository Institutions
SAR Filing Leads to Embargo Investigation | Depository Institutions